January 21

The Confession – Jo Spain

Late one night a man walks into the luxurious home of disgraced banker Harry McNamara and his wife Julie. The man launches an unspeakably brutal attack on Harry as a horror-struck Julie watches, frozen by fear. It looks like Harry’s many sins – corruption, greed, betrayal – have finally caught up with him.

An hour later the intruder, JP Carney, hands himself in, confessing to the assault. The police have a victim, a suspect in custody and an eye-witness account, but Julie remains troubled.

Has Carney’s surrender really been driven by a guilty conscience or is this confession the first calculated move in a deadly game?

 

My thanks to Quercus Books for my review copy and to Anne Cater for the chance to join the blog tour.

Not many books will get down to the action as quickly as The Confession.  A brutal attack on one of Ireland’s most successful bankers is vividly described in the opening chapter of Jo Spain’s superb new novel.

JP Carney walks into the home of Harry and Julie McNamara and beats Harry with a golf club as Julie sits watching, frozen in fear and unable to help her husband. It is graphic, it is shocking and it makes you want to read on – what could possibly have led to this?

Knowing Harry will suffer at the hands of Carney the author takes us into the lives of Julie, JP Carney and investigating police office – Alice Moody. We are taken back in time to when Julie first met Harry and we are given a good look at Carney and the tough upbringing he had to endure and the strong bond he formed with his younger sister. As the story unfolds we get to understand more about Carney but it remains unclear why he may have walked into a strangers home and attacked the homeowner.  But is Harry McNamara a stranger to JP Carney?

We also follow Julie’s history. Her chance meeting with Harry and the fairy-tale romance as she is courted by one of the most successful (and rich) bankers in Ireland. Once again, as the story unfolds, we see Julie open up more about her relationship with Harry and the pressures and self doubts as she tries to remain Julie rather than Mrs McNamara.

The real-time investigations are being conducted by Alice Moody, my favourite character in The Confession. She cannot accept Carney’s assertion that he has no knowledge of Harry McNamara and that his house was picked at random. Moody will drive the story as she pushes to get to the bottom of Carney’s seemingly random attack and she believes that the McNamara’s may have somehow brought Carney into their lives – even if they don’t know why.

The reason The Confession worked so well for me was the characters driving the story. It is all about the people and how they faced up to several key moments in their lives – all bringing them to a critical point when a seemingly random act of violence will change everything forever.

Wonderfully written and deeply compelling.

 

The Confession is published by Quercus on 25 January 2018 and you can order a copy here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Confession-most-addictive-psychological-thriller-ebook/dp/B06XRL3N98/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

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June 12

The Last Night at Tremore Beach – Mikel Santiago

Last Night at Tremore BeachHe’d seen the danger coming. And now it’s here…

When Peter Harper, a gifted musician whose career and personal life are in trouble, comes to northwest Ireland and rents a remote cottage on beautiful, windswept Tremore Beach, he thinks he has found a refuge, a tranquil place in a time of crisis. His only neighbours for miles around are a retired American couple, Leo and Marie Kogan, who sense his difficulties and take him under their wing. But there’s something strange about the pair that he can’t quite figure out.

One night during one of the dramatic storms that pummel the coast, Peter is struck by lightning. Though he survives, he begins to experience a series of terrifying, lucid and bloody nightmares that frame him, the Kogans and his visiting children in mortal danger. The Harper family legend of second sight suddenly takes on a sinister twist. What if his horrifying visions came true, could tonight be his last…?

 

My thanks to Simon & Schuster UK for my review copy

Musician Peter Harper is living in rural seclusion on the Irish coast. His life has been in turmoil and his confidence is shot – a world renowned composer he now cannot capture a simple tune and he is seeking solitude to try and rediscover his love of music.

Harper is renting a cottage on Tremore Beach, he is becoming a known face around the nearby village and his only neighbours (an American couple who have also sought a peaceful life) have tried to make him feel welcome and are keeping an almost paternal eye on him. While his days seem idyllic, Peter is increasingly frustrated by his inability to compose anything worthy of recording – a problem exacerbated by unsubtle approaches of his agent who is looking for Peter to return to work soon.

When we first meet Peter we learn that the mother of all storms is due to hit the Irish Coast. Against all advice Peter decides not to shelter safely at home for the evening and takes up an invitation to join his American neighbours (the Kogans) for dinner.  At the end of the evening and with the storm raging Peter tries to drive home.  He is forced out of his car and while exposed to the elements he is struck by lightning.  Badly scorched, Peter survives but he now finds he is plagued by horrific nightmares or visions.  Each incident feels real to Peter and he is certain he is awake when the occur, however, the things he sees are chilling and all seem to foretell an event which is yet to unfold.

The Last Night at Tremore Beach is a delightfully dark supernatural tale.  Peter’s visions lead him to believe that his friends and family may be in danger and the terror  at the prospect of the incidents leads him to seek professional help. But is he really seeing the future or has the lightning strike aggravated a medical condition?

Rural locations, terrifying visions, the prospect of death and danger and a potentially unreliable narrator – they all combine well to create a creepy page turner.  As Peter faces his fears he realises that there are secrets at Tremore Beach and uncovering the truth may be the worst thing that Peter could do.

Tense supernatural read which strikes a nice balance between thriller and terror, an enjoyable read and definitely one to seek out if you like a spooky twist to your books.

 

Last Night at Tremore Beach is published by Simon & Schuster and is available in hardback and digital format.  You can order a copy here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Last-Night-Tremore-Beach/dp/1471150135/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1497216373&sr=8-1&keywords=last+night+at+tremore+beach

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June 7

Twisted River: Siobhan MacDonald

Twisted RiverLimerick, Ireland: Oscar Harvey finds the body of a woman in a car boot, beaten and bloody. But let’s start at the beginning…

Kate and Mannix O’Brien live in a lovely Limerick house they can barely afford. Their autistic son is bullied at school and their daughter Izzy wishes she could protect him. When Kate spots a gorgeous New York flat on a home-exchange website, she decides her family needs a holiday.

Hazel and Oscar Harvey, and their two children, live on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. Though they seem successful, Hazel has mysterious bruises and Oscar is hiding something.

Hazel is keen to revisit her native Limerick, and the house swap offers a perfect chance to soothe both troubled marriages.

But this will be anything but a perfect break. And the body is just the beginning.

 

My thanks to Heloise at EDPR for my review copy

 

Twisted River opens with a punch – a car is standing in the driveway beside a house. A woman’s body is being bundled into the boot of a car when two children appear asking their father where their mother has gone…

Brilliant opening and it made me want to keep reading but Siobhan MacDonald gets nasty at this point and jumps us back in time to spend some time outlining the events that led up to that shocking opening.

Twisted River tells the story of two families. One from Ireland, the other from the US. The reader is introduced to the two households and we learn that all is not well on either side of the pond.  The mothers of the house, Kate and Hazel, each feel that a change of scene will do their respective families the world of good. With Hazel keen to return to her native Ireland and Kate desperate to allow her son the chance to see New York City, the two families agree a house swap.

But Kate and Hazel will soon learn that leaving your problems at your doorstep isn’t as easy as they would hope – particularly when crossing someone else’s doorstep means you inherit some of their problems too.

I found Twisted River to be a pretty enjoyable read. As a speed reader, with multiple books on the go at any one time, I did struggle initially keeping up with which character belonged in which family.  That is more a reflection on me than on the author (I am terrible with names) but it did mean that I had to back track a couple of times to place the scene.  As I got deeper into the plot this minor inconvenience faded and I enjoyed where the story was going.

Dysfunctional families throw up some interesting dynamics and the author managed to capture and convey the sibling rivalry and domestic grief well.  I also thought the scenes where both families arrived at their new ‘homes’ were very well constructed and I actually felt the enjoyment and wonder that the two families were experiencing as they explored their new environments.

This is Siobhan MacDonald’s debut novel and I would definitely be inclined to pick up more books by this author. The characters were well realised, the story was well paced and kept me guessing. By the time we were back at the boot scene I can confess I was totally wrong about what I thought would have occurred to lead us up to that point.

Definitely a book which is worth your consideration.

 

Twisted River is published by Canelo and you can order a copy here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Twisted-River-unmissable-psychological-thriller-ebook/dp/B01DUPBA3W/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1465256131&sr=8-1&keywords=twisted+river

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